By Kira Ratan
The Irvington Public Library has created “storywalks” along trails and sites around Westchester, including the Croton Aqueduct and the Blue Hill Heritage Trust trails. These storywalks are signs posted along the trails with a variety of different stories and QR (bar) codes attached so phone scanners can access the stories online while walking along the sites. Stories range from children’s picture books, like “If you Give a Pig a Pancake”, to short essays by American novelist Wendell Berry.
The brains behind the idea and project is the Library’s Head of Youth Services, Carolyn Gallagher. For this project, she wanted to keep children interested but needed to find a unique way to do so given the circumstances of the ongoing pandemic.
“I was trying to think of something that could keep kids engaged with their reading, and especially since there’s no camp or anything this summer, I wanted them to be able to go outside and still enjoy being out there and see books that they know,” Gallagher said.
Gallagher had hoped the stories outside would provide something nice for families, especially with children, who can relate to books they know or learn about books they haven’t read yet.
The Library is planning to introduce more activities and projects throughout the summer, hoping to keep kids active and stimulated. Gallagher took on their summer reading project this year, which is now online, and has transformed the idea into something safe and exciting.
Parents can sign up their children online and every week they stop by and pick up a grab-and-go craft to do at home. Additionally, one of the children’s librarians will be filmed reading stories and helping instruct craft-making, and the videos will be posted to the Library’s private YouTube page for families to access.
The Library is planning on putting up two more storywalks by the beginning of July and will rotate between different works throughout the summer.